Incentive Travel Will Be Strong in 2024 with Some Caveats to Consider

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We’ve had a lot to talk about over the last four years in our incentive travel industry! 2023 was packed with programs that had to be rescheduled from 2020 and 2021. As we close out this year, and rev up for next year, there are a few key areas to keep an eye on in 2024. And they apply to single travelers, as well as incentive groups. 

An Election Year

With 2024 being an election year, businesses are prone to be a bit more cautious with their spending budgets. Rhonda Brewer, VP of Sales at Motivation Excellence, says this doesn’t mean there will be drastic changes to the incentive travel landscape, but certain trends might arise for new bookings. 

“How this translates to the world of incentive travel may mean selecting destinations closer to home, seeing reductions in budgets, and finding partners who can provide extra value through stretching their dollar further.”

More stringent rule structures could also come into play, as companies start requiring higher performance goals to qualify for incentive group travel. Despite the more cautious approach, Brewer says overall incentive programs are in a good place. 

“What I am most excited about is the fact that incentive programs are alive and well and clients still absolutely see the value in them. Now that rebookings are behind us, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity to look at new venues, destinations and inclusions.”

Flights & Service Levels

2024 is looking like a big year for the general public wanting to travel. Brad Hecht, Motivation Excellence Senior VP of Travel and Chief Travel Strategist, and his team are constantly looking at trends in airfare as they book travel for our group incentive participants. In the coming year, he predicts steadier pricing trends, especially for domestic destinations.

“Airfares will continue to stabilize, especially for U.S. travel, as projections will continue to trend to record numbers for travelers.”

Travel & Leisure published an article referencing Kayak’s 2024 outlook on airfares, which showed that domestic flights could steadily drop up to 16% next year. The same report, however, states ticket prices for international travel look like they’ll increase 10% in 2024, over 2023. 

Along with domestic travel being more affordable, Hecht is looking forward to higher service levels at hotels in the United States. 

“Hotels are continuing to ramp back up from the pandemic with their staffing, so I’m hoping for more consistent service levels.”

Brewer adds that clients are looking for that too. “The expectation in 2024 will be that all staffing levels have been ironed out and properties will be fully operational in their on-site restaurants and spas.”  

Visa Updates

We’ve all heard that Americans traveling abroad in 2024 might need to add a visa to their passport. For travelers to Europe, the visa requirement that was originally going to roll out in 2024, has been delayed to 2025 at the earliest.

“The new ETIAS travel entry requirement won’t be in effect until after Europe’s new tech-driven entry and exit system is launched in the fall of 2024. And then even after that, there will likely be a six-month transition period,” says Joe Reise, Director, Travel Purchasing, Planning, and Supplier Relations at Motivation Excellence. 

There are countries now though that already require Americans to have a visa to enter. They include Brazil, Australia, China and Vietnam. For a full list of countries requiring a visa, Reise recommends visiting this website: Travel.State.Gov

Wrap Up

Between flight prices, hotel service levels and visa requirements, Americans have a lot to consider as we start dreaming about our next travel destination. If you can take advantage of lower domestic airfare and higher U.S. hotel service levels, and earn it through your company’s incentive program, you’ll hit a trifecta of travel gold! 

Motivation Excellence, Inc is an incentive company dedicated to helping our clients Inspire Extraordinary Performance. We do this through personalized rewards, aspirational group travel, performance tracking and wow-worthy meetings and events. Headquartered outside of Chicago, we have another full office in Traverse City, Michigan and remote offices across the country. 

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